Friday, March 4, 2011

Mail Chess the Old Way

In this segment I will  attempt to put my readers inside the mind of the old style Correspondence Potal Chess tournaments. I tried a beginners section but I dont recommend any beginners postal tournament due to the number of people who dropout and lose interest. I dropped out because all my opponents dropped out =B-] So its best to start right off in a decent qualifying tourny of serious players if you want to get any kind of competition. My favorite amount of games was 3 sections of 6 players. 18 games in total. I realize that todays computer postal tournaments use email which is very fast, but im my days we used the old mail system which is 30 days of reflection time [the day after you recieve the move till the day your reply is postmarked] so about 3 days to make each move on average. You can take 20 days on 1 move but then you only got 10 days on the next 9 moves. If you go over 30 days in a 10 move series, you lose on time. You can even take 30 days Excused time off for vacations or sickness. Some of my games have taken longer than 2 years to complete. I heard there was a postal match between Havard and Yale where they made 1 move per year. Now that's a deep long correspondence game :-] What I love about Correspondence Chess is you can really get super deep into the positions on the board. Many games I would try 5 or 10 different variations, going up to 20 moves or more deep. It was a blast finding a forced win in many of my games as well as squirming out of lost games with a win or a satisfying draw. One opponent I had claimed he never made the move 4Nf3 and said he did the move 4d4. Well I had to mail all my postcards to the Tourney Director to force him to make his 4th move Nf3. This cost me postage money as well as 6 weeks lost time but the TD did penalize him by taking some of his reflection time away and I did win that game. I bore down on that game trying to find the most killing move as it made me upset he would lie about his move when it was clearly marked Nf3. he was the only guy I really had any problem with besides a few that just stopped sending moves but that was ok as I automatically won on time. I played many opponents from different countries and we would occasionally chat about our cutlures and lifestyles and even prices of things. The first card they will say "Nice to meet you" or "Good luck in our game". this one guy says "I'm 46 a Bank Trust Manager and an Artist". Playing 18 games at once can get a bit hectic if many cards come in the mailbox at once. I once recieved 12 cards in 1 day. I try to send out any cards with "forced" moves [moves that must be done or are the best move and easy to see] right away, then I decide which games I can study next. With so many games I even studied at restaurants while eating. I have this small flat pocket set I carried around. I studied while visiting my family and at the mall and at various other places. I even studied my games while at work. Most of the games I could set up by memory. My complete postal record is 101W - 18L - 30D My Rating is 2094. Maybe some day I'll start up postal again but it wont be the same now that it's email.